Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Award Winners Neuro Insight and Spotify 

Editor’s note: Neuro-Insight and Spotify are the winners of the 2022 B2B Research Project Award, a category in the Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards. This award acknowledges the creativity, effectiveness and innovation of B2B research. To find out more about the awards click here.

The digital streaming of audio has rejuvenated the category and Spotify is leading this space, delivering higher engagement to listeners and enabling brand breakthrough for advertisers. A sonic study conducted by Neuro-Insight, in partnership with Spotify, has allowed a better understanding of the true power of audio and Spotify’s distinct impact. The study helped identify why and how advertisers should be using Spotify to better reach their consumers. 

Why did you choose to do a sonic study? 

Culture has always been  built and fostered around myths, symbols, rituals, stories and songs. Sound has played an important role in our evolution and was once the main way we passed down information. Music has fueled what it means to be human and connects us to the thoughts and feelings of others we wish to understand. Audio has been going through a digital revolution, and the marketing community has not truly understood or embraced its power. 

In this study, we sought to reenergize the world of audio and make people rethink their preconceived notions of audio as a medium that can inspire audiences. We wanted to showcase the unique opportunities that brands have that differ from other channels and  explain the unique power and magic of audio through science. The digital streaming of audio rejuvenated the category, and Spotify is leading this space, delivering higher engagement to listeners and enabling brand breakthroughs for advertisers. The sonic study has allowed us to better understand the true power of audio in music and podcasts. This study helped identify why and how advertisers should useSpotify to reach consumers.

What was the most interesting finding from the study? 

This study helped advance our understanding of the power of music. Audio is often thought to be a right-brain exercise, but it is an all-brain exercise. Through the examination of the subconscious, we concluded digital audio is significantly more impactful than radio across all four metrics:

  • Engagement - the relatability and relevance of the content.
  • Emotional intensity - the strength of the emotions tied to the content.
  • Global long-term memory - memories, feelings and themes associated with the content.
  • Detail long-term memory specific message and details of the content. 

Additionally, we saw that listening on Spotify drives higher engagement than TV (+23%), digital video (+9%) and social media (+27%), with deeper personalization. Spotify’s high engagement and audio’s inherent strengths provide advertisers the ideal platform to create breakthrough advertising. We saw a 93% engagement transference from content directly into ad, with 19% stronger brand breakthrough on Spotify compared to our ad norms on all other media. In music, we found that different genres tend to produce different neurological responses. This allowed us to identify the right ad creative structure by music genre. We also found that podcasts are 16% more engaging and 9% more memorable compared to overall media benchmarks, without being emotionally overwhelming.

What advice do you have for those who are doing a B2B research project?

Eighty to ninety percent of decision-making occurs in the subconscious. You must first outline your objectives, define your audience and tap into the deepest drivers of human motivation. Consumers are inundated with countless purchasing options and bombarded with hundreds of advertisements daily. You must ask yourself, what will break through the clutter? 

Then you must use hard data and scientific insights to confirm what drives purchase intent. Like any good research, B2B research needs to start with a good understanding of the objective, the tools at hand and a naturalistic yet suitable design system that will enable the tool to uncover insights that will address the objective. What makes a B2B study tricky is that, while you may still be conducting research with consumers directly, the insights you may need to draw are for an entirely different business. For example, in the case of this Spotify study, the client was Spotify, and the audience was everyday Spotify listeners, but the insights we needed to draw were for the brands that would advertise on Spotify. B2B research projects come with the added responsibility of having crystal clear objectives and design to create solutions that can be easily tested for significance when it comes to the actionability of the insight.